Hospitable entanglements : immigration, apophasis and attitude toward "the other".


Somyong Kim

Date of Award


Document Type



Drew Theological School

Degree Name

Master of Arts


We are living in the age of immigration. The reason that immigrants move to other place beyond the border is understandable. They want to find better life. Counter to their expectation, they are confronted by severe problems. Especially, in the wake of international terrorism, immigrants are dealt with as dangerous elements. And because of an exclusionary attitude toward immigrants, these serious problems cannot be solved, but rather are aggravated. This thesis considers Jurgen Habermas' notion of tolerance and Jacques Derrida's notion of hospitality as example of examples of ethical attitudes toward "the others." Derrida insists on unconditional hospitality, asserting that tolerance is still host-centric. However, since Derrida's hospitality deconstructs the boundary between guests and hosts, it seems near impossible to realize. Derrida also mentions the impossibility of unconditional hospitality. But it is not a fixed impossibility, but rather an impossible possibility. This thesis then considers the metaphor of quantum entanglement as shedding light on the impossible possibility of unconditional hospitality. Quantum physics mentions that quantum manifests both as a wave and as a particle. Process philosophy, influenced by quantum mechanics, insists on the duality - not the dualism - of matter. This thesis then draws upon a current approach to apophatic theology to accentuate not only the unknowing God, but also the coincidence of opposites. Eventually, the impossible possibility of deconstruction of the boundary between guest and host is found in unconditional hospitality. This thesis examines an ethically attractive attitude toward "the other" including immigrants, foreign workers and strangers, via Derrida's notion of hospitality and its impossible possibility based on entanglements drawn from the vocabularies of quantum physics, process philosophy, and apophatic theology.